We asked parents about the best way to start homeschooling. Here’s what they told us.
As a parent who has homeschooled my children for the past seven years, I can tell you that it is not easy. It can be very rewarding — but as anyone who has ever tried to teach a child anything knows, there are days when it feels like it would be easier just to let them watch TV or play outside.
I recently spoke with a mom who asked me how she could get started on her journey to become a homeschooler and she was particularly interested in learning more about starting out. Here are some of the most important things you should know before beginning your homeschooling journey.
Start With The Basics
It may seem counterintuitive, but the best place to begin is by laying down the ground rules. What does that mean? Well, it means making sure that your kids have an idea of what is expected of them academically and socially. That includes understanding the difference between school work and homework, getting involved in community activities, and being respectful of other people.
These expectations should form the foundation of home schooling. They will help keep your family on track and give you a good sense of where to focus your efforts.
Get Help From Other Parents And Teachers
You can learn a lot from other homeschoolers. You don’t necessarily need to hire a tutor or enroll your children in private classes. Instead, look for advice from other parents at your local public library or at your children’s school. Ask around if you want to learn about specific subjects or ways of doing things. There are often online forums devoted to different topics, so take advantage of these resources too.
Also, consider reaching out to other homeschool families in your area. Many of them meet regularly to chat about their experiences and share ideas. These groups offer great support to new homeschoolers, especially during those first few weeks when you feel overwhelmed.
Be Patient, Be Kind, Don’t Push Your Children Too Hard
The one thing that all successful homeschooling parents have in common is patience. This doesn’t just mean waiting until your children are ready to learn something. It also means listening carefully to what they say and giving them time to reflect and process what they’ve learned.
This may sound obvious, but it bears repeating because it is such a crucial aspect of teaching. Just as you wouldn’t yell at your kid when he spills his juice on the floor (even if you’re mad) or punish him for taking a long time to eat his dinner (unless you’re starving), you shouldn’t rush your children into learning something new without first having given them a chance to think through the implications of that action or decision.
There is no magic formula for success here. A lot of this comes down to trial and error. But if you’re going to try, be kind.
Don’t Let Money Stop You
If you’re thinking about starting a homeschooling program, then you probably already have at least a basic budget in mind. But do you know exactly how much money you need to spend each month?
One way to determine how much you might actually spend is to figure out how many hours you’ll need to devote to your children’s education. Then multiply that number by $20 per hour. This approach works well for homeschooling families of any size. You’ll still have plenty left over to put towards fun projects, trips, and special events.
For example, if you plan to use 25 hours a week to educate your children, then you will need to set aside $500 a month for tuition, supplies, books, and field trips. That’s only about $3,000 a year! Of course, this amount will vary according to individual needs and circumstances. But even if you’re short on cash right now, you can always save up and add extra funds later.
Hire A Tutor If Needed
If you’re a beginner, you might not clearly know what you want to teach your children. Or maybe you’re trying to catch up after spending several years away from teaching due to raising your children full-time. Either way, a good tutor can be invaluable if you’re going to succeed in your quest to teach your child yourself.
In addition to helping you develop lesson plans and assignments, tutors can also provide feedback on your teaching style, answer questions about curriculum, help you organize materials, and make suggestions on how to improve your skills.
Keep Everything In Writing
A big part of homeschooling involves writing. Whether you’re creating lesson plans, grading papers, preparing reports, sending notes to teachers, or keeping track of your own progress, it’s essential that you stay organized.
Your children are likely to need this information too. After all, if you don’t write down everything that you do, it becomes difficult for them to follow along. This is why it’s important to keep all of your notes and documents in a central location, such as a shared Google Drive folder.
Of course, this advice applies equally to you. If you’re using Google Docs, then you can easily create multiple versions of a document. For example, you can create a draft version that you share with others, and a final version that you store separately on your computer. You’ll never lose your notes again!
While these tips are helpful for beginners, experienced families can benefit from other tips and tricks as well.